Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hal Bahr on UAC 2012 New Orleans: The Land of Dreams

This is another update we received from Hal Bahr on our Postcards from UAC Facebook Group. You can find him on Facebook HERE  and also on his Wordpress Site: Soul Journey Design

I had another wonderful day in New Orleans. As I walked into the lobby of the Marriott I saw clumps of astrologers deciding what to do with this last day before the conference begins. For me it began with a walk through the French Quarter with Caroline Casey to historic gathering place Cafe du Monde for beignets, cafe au lait, and orange juice. A young man sitting close by wore a t-shirt whose slogan caught our eyes Work Hard, Be Nice. Good guiding words for two people who will be very busy over the next week. We then went and took in the view from the square. Treasured time sharing stories, possible visions of the future, and confidences with my great ally and friend knowing we were in no hurry but the with the aim of exploring the voodoo vibe of NOLA and a visit to the resting place of Marie Laveau the voodoo priestess of New Orleans. Caroline first caught my attention in the 80's when she was on Nightline with Pat Buchanan talking politics and astro-wisdom. Later she inspired me with her book Making the Gods Work for You, amazed me with a personal reading and over the last few years she had become a friend. That's one great thing I have found with the astrologer tribe. These wise and learned folks are also accessible and even greater in their heart-centered humanity.

As we wandered Caroline told me stories of coming to NOLA just months after Katarina. Anti-depressants made it here faster than clean water, a city in shock with every person you met having a heart-rending story to tell, and the miracle of sunflowers and watermelons growing rampant in every vacant once-flooded space of the devastated city. After stopping and greeting our great spirit ancestor Marie Laveau's final resting place and tidying things up bit our tour continued. We paused in another gathering spot on the way to visiting Priestess Miriam and the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and cultural center while Caroline told me a story about Marie Laveau. Marie was in love with a high-born white New Orleans white man who took the legal steps to be declared colored so that he and Marie could own property and be together. Marie had the voodoo herbal cures for ailments like yellow fever and this among other things gained her entree among many unlikely and disparate groups. It was Marie who held the first multi-racial gatherings in the city where drumming and spirit was called forth for the good of all.

Then on to the Voodoo Spiritual Temple and cultural center where modern-day voodoo priestess Miriam Chamani presides. The shop was a sight to behold. Filled with talismans, remedies, candles, music, books, altars and Miriam who is available for personal readings, greetings, and chat while the images of Marie Laveau and Baron Samedi gaze down upon the visitors.

After stopping for delicious gelato and a quirky conversation with a flamboyantly dressed busker we eventually wandered back toward the hotel. As soon as we entered the building you could feel the vibe had changed from languorous lounging to the building frenzy of a huge gathering of astrological stars. I think we may have enough accumulated talent and brightness here to begin the Big Bang all over again. Checking in with Michael Erliwine again we all proceeded up to the registration check-in desk for the conference to get our credentials, badges and tickets for the various parts of the conference. I was delighted to find Victoria Naumann Peltz and Geri Bellino staffing the desk. The generous volunteer work at this conference is a tribute to the passion and excitement this kind of event stirs up in folks. Micheal took us behind closed doors into the UAC marketplace where we got to see the vendors setting up, Micheal's expansive booth and, wouldn't you know it... that same original couple setting up their bookstore booth. I told you paths would continue to meet here.

Then I began to get calls with questions about where the room monitors were going to be meeting and I had to leave my companions and see if could help the flow of communication. On the way I ran into friends, colleagues, teachers and astrological/organizational treasures Chris McRae, Monica Dimino, Richard Smoot, Henry Selzer, Robert Corre, and Maureen Ambrose. Once back up in my room I had the pleasure of a visit from Cayelin Castell co-founder of the Shamanic Astrology Mystery School and her gorgeous daughter Jenna. Rockin goddesses. Cayelin and Daniel Giamario will be hosting a booth in the marketplace that will offer a new version of the groundbreaking Shamanic Astrology Handbook. Check it out!

Our visit was sweet but brief as I had to go to the first gathering of the cast and crew of Micheal Lutin's OMG The Mayans Were Right. I was impressed with the stage and overwhelmed with the sheer star power of great astrologer's who Micheal had somehow convinced, cajoled, cohooted, and coerced into putting their trust and faith in him and Gloria Star. I want to reel off the list of who's in the cast but I know I'll miss some name and so I'll wait till a later date to fill you in but it's truly an astonishing assortment of the incredibly well-known, stunningly talented and beautiful, and the quirky and unlikely. You will gasp in wonder, surprise, and delight. When Michael outlined the show I could see it's truly something not to be missed for all those who are here and sure to be heard about for a long time to come.

I left the meeting early to get to yet another meeting being held by Michelle Gould and Charlotte Benson training the first group of room monitors for the pre-conference speaker presentations. Again the volunteer commitment at this conference is simply off the scale. What a group tribal effort of love. Michelle has done an extraordinary job of organizing and coordinating the various pieces that make up the support staff and I know I want to at least buy this Wonder-full lady a tall drink before this event is over.

I'll be working as one of 4 "Floor Runners" helping to keep the flow of room monitors, recording, and speakers moving smoothly throughout the conference. My main task will be taking care of the presentations on the 41st floor which will be the Symmetrical or Uranaian Astrology track and helping out on the 4th floor. Check in on Friday for my first reports which I'll be titling Notes from Uranus. It's after midnight now and I'm reporting for duty at 8:30 am to help out at Ray Merriman's pre-conference presentation tomorrow so as my fingers cramp and my eyes water I end this report and head off to the land of dreams. Oh wait that's where I've spent the whole day already isn't it? Only at UAC in New Orleans 2012.

Photo by Hal Bahr

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